Friday, 6 July 2012

Henri Troyat: GONTCHAROV

May 2012, 216 pages

GONTCHAROV is the last biography which Henri Troyat dedicated to the Great Russian writers of the 19th century.

The author of the literary monument OBLOMOV certainly is less known than Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky or Chekhov. But in his country he is considered as equal to them, thanks to that book which made him popular to all Russians.

In 1847 Ivan Goncharov publishes his first novel, A COMMON STORY, and begins to write his masterpiece OBLOMOV which will be published in 1859. He will need ten years to write it. He works as a highly placed official for the Ministry of public education and later as an agent for the Ministry of Finance for which he has to build up the first commercial contacts with Japan.

For that very purpose he embarks a frigate and relates his adventures in THE FRIGATE PALLAS, a sociological an ethnographical document unique for its time. His work contains essays, critics, portraits, short novels, fairytales, poems and translations (Schiller, Goethe), critical analysis’s (Balzac, Zola, Flaubert, les Goncourt, Lemontov). He is one of the founders of the Russian realistic novel and a master of positive realism.

Henry Troyat died in 2007. He was born in Russiain 1911 and followed his parents at the moment of the Russian Revolution in 1917 in order to settle in Franceand study there, before becoming one of the most productive French authors. He received the Prix Goncourt in 1938 for his second novel L’ARAIGNÉE. He was elected member of the Académie française in 1959.